It would be easy to assume that choosing wood as a window frame material would result in a low-performing window, why it seems like there is an abundance of old timber frames that are being pulled out and uPVC casement alternatives being fitted. However, wood is not the low-performing material you may think it is. In fact, it continues to be a strong and functional choice for window frames. Allow us to provide a little more detail on the different properties that wood offers, as well as the advantages it provides for window frames, this will help you to understand whether wood window frames are insulated enough. If you would like to know about UPVC wood effect windows then see here.
When it comes to a window being insulated well or insulated poorly, what are the key features? Since we are seeing more and more efforts go into providing frames that provide higher performance, how does wood compare to what is on offer?
The Way Things Work
It is all about the glazing structure when it comes to double and triple glazed windows. An inert air such as argon is used to fill the gap between the panes, this air has a greater weight than its surrounding environment. It is this design that the whole high thermal performance of windows relies on. However, when it comes to overall performance, the actual frame has a key role to play. A thermal break, as well as a seal, are featured in typical casement windows, these work to provide a barrier to heat loss through the frame.
Wood has a natural makeup that means it is a low heat conductor. This is backed up by the fact that a solid wood frame will not need to have a thermal break even though other materials do. This is down to the fact that it offers such a high level of natural insulation. Compared to the insulation level of steel, wood proves itself to be 400 times more efficient and twice as efficient as aluminium. Hence wood does not rely so much on the surrounding casement engineering when it comes to reaching a high energy performance for the overall window.
We can say something similar for noise insulation. Wood is a porous material and these small air pockets mean that the material offers superior sound protection. When a wood frame is matched up with double or triple glazing it can provide excellent performance against noise entering the home.
All of us UK homeowners want to have a home that holds in the heat during the winter, however, when we are blessed with a few hot summer moments, we really don’t want to trap in the heat! Wood is a low conductor of heat so a wood window frame is not going to play a role in bringing heat into the home during the summer. The same principle applies to the winter months. Of course, we know that heat transfer is mostly related to glazing. If you opt for UV coating on your windows you will be able to regulate your home’s heat in a much more efficient way. In fact, this is just one of the many reasons why we are benefitting from the evolution of glazing technologies, it can now stop a high level of heat from penetrating the windows.
Not only is wood an environmentally friendly choice but it also provides the lowest level of heat conductivity when compared to any other frame material. As well as this, manufacturing wood frames causes fewer toxins to enter the atmosphere and needs less energy. This is a great thing for sustainability. It can also be coloured and finished to the homeowner’s desires, thanks to its flexible nature. So long as it is looked after correctly, it will actually get more durable over the years. Indeed it is easy to see why it is still so widely used within the construction industry.
Are There Any Cons?
Since we have seen that wood is both a natural and high-performing material on the insulation front, the burning question has to be why it is not used more widely?
Wood has one significant downfall and that is the maintenance requirements. Wood has to be maintained both consistently and efficiently, For the duration of its life the homeowner needs to treat and paint it otherwise they will start to see rotting and damage. Once such issues have taken hold the only solution is to replace the entire window system.